My Review of Ari Shavit’s ‘My Promised Land’ in Barron’s

Barron’s published my review of Ari Shavit’s book My Promised Land last week. An excerpt:

The subtitle’s reference to “triumph and tragedy” is perhaps an unwitting clue as to why he seems so haunted. For Shavit, the success of Zionism in establishing Israel was a triumph, while Israel’s occupation and settlement construction in Palestinian territory is a tragedy, but only because it threatens the gains made by those early Zionists.

Yet, he candidly explains how the Zionist project of establishing a demographically “Jewish state” required the removal of the Arab population. About three-quarters of a million Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes from 1947 to 1949. In the wake of the Holocaust, this was a necessary step, he says, to create a home for the Jews that would ensure their salvation. It was irrefutable “Zionist justice” in his view, despite the admitted “injustice caused to native Arabs by the Zionist project.”

I write in the conclusion, “When it comes to enlightenment about Israel’s inner and outer conflicts, this book is instructive not despite but because of its prejudice and inconsistency.”

Read the full review here. (It’s the 3rd review, so may be on page 3 if all reviews aren’t appearing on a single page.)

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